Three Groans Anticipating Glory
1) The groan of creation.
2) The groan of the Christian.
3) The groan of the Spirit.
4) The glory of God’s completed purpose.
The title is a nod to R. Kent Hughes.
The groans are anticpatory. This is not to say they do not represent a burden, but they have a positive outcome in expectation.
Verses 18-30 hang together and verses 31-39 are also distinct, yet both can be treated together.
Creation ‘groans’. It bears the consequences of the curse which fell on humanity as a result of sin. Creation ‘looks forward’ to the fulfillment of God’s purposes when glorified humans can steward it fruitfully and sinlessly.
Christians, too, look forward to this time. We have the present joy of God’s salvation, but also the present burden of wanting everything to be fulfilled, not just for our sake, but for creation’s sake and especially for the glory of God.
The Holy Spirit groans. Amazingly the Spirit both serves us be making up for our own lack, interceding on our behalf, anticipating the day when we will not require that ministry of intercession.
These groans are of a positive nature, however, because God’s purpose is known, as is the fact that all His purspose will be finally realised.
The ground of this hope is seen in the reality of God, Who sent His Son to die for us, the resurrected and glorified Son, Who at the Father’s right hand intercedes for us, the Spirit who testifies within us, the objective reality of the saving work which is being carried out in us.
Our groans are not the evidence of despair and futility, they are the desires of those who know a certain conclusion is coming and who, with hope and certainty, long for that day.
Come, Lord Jesus!